According to the U.S. Labor Department, first-time claims for jobless benefits declined more than expected last week. It's a clear sign that the economy is slowly recovering.

Unemployment claims officially fell to their lowest levels since September 2008, and economists said the U.S. is inching closer to producing job gains once again. What's more, the nation's gross domestic product, the broadest measure of output, rose 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the fastest in six years.

When job growth begins again, companies will be back to competing for the best and brightest talent. That's where virtual offices can be a competitive advantage. Virtual offices can help companies recruit employees in two ways.

First, virtual offices give employees telecommuting opportunities. Instead of demanding employees come into the office five days a week, virtual office technologies make it possible to route an employee's call to their home office or cell phone through a virtual receptionist—without missing a beat.

Second, virtual offices mean you can scout for talent beyond the borders of your city, your state, or even your country. With virtual office providers like Davinci Virtual spanning the globe, it's possible to stay connected to employees and present a uniform business presence no matter where in the world your employees live and work.

So while the U.S. continues to work its way toward a full economic recovery, begin thinking now how the concepts of flex work, telecommuting and the virtual office could give you a competitive advantage in the hiring process. You'll be glad you did.